Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

Lost an exhaust pipe

1991 Honda Accord

My car has two exhaust pipes. One of them went a bit lopsided the other day, and I checked again today and now it’s gone! My car is a little bit noisier running on just one exhaust pipe now, but that’s the only difference I could detect.

My question is this: how urgent is the repair? Can I do a couple of 6-hour drives on one exhaust pipe before I get it fixed? I spoke with a body shop guy around the corner, he said just buy a whole new muffler and we’ll put it on for you. He estimated it would be under 2 hours of labor. Is this the best course of action?

If you have state inspections where you live, you would fail. And you could be pulled over by a state cop while driving.

You have to get it fixed at some point, so why not now?

I don’t think it’d get me pulled over, it just looks like I have a single-exhaust car. Unless the cop pulling me over is an Accord enthusiast and happens to know that the 91 has a dual exhaust, I’m fine.

The reason I ask my question @BillRussell is because I’m not sure I can find a mechanic to fix it before my trip to San Francisco. I am concerned about effects it may have on reliability, overheating, mpg, and so on. The bodyshop guy said it’s not an urgent repair but I like a second opinion. Also, 2 hours of labor sounds like a lot (to someone who doesn’t know anything about it) for sticking a new muffler on and then presumably shooting it with the sparkling fire-gun pew pew.


Why not take it to a real muffler place? They deal with this every day and probably can do the whole job in the same amount of time or quicker.

Assuming it’s only the tail pipe that came off, I don’t think a 6 hours trip will hurt. I would pay special attention to the cabin air quality. There is a reason why cars have a tail pipe and that is to redirect exhaust way from the car.

If it is making little difference in the normal sound the car makes, i’m sure you a talking about the tail pipe. I would have no concerns, but I would avoid sitting in one spot and leaving the engine run.
So you could avoid spending more than 10 minutes in one spot parked, and you would be fine.

This will make no differences in the way the car runs, reliability, or fuel economy.


I suspect it isn’t the year that creates the dual exhaust need but the engine. Do you have a V6?

Nomatter. If the tailpipe rotted off, you have rot elsewhere in the system. A rot hole beneath the passenger cabin can cause entry of exhaust fumes into the cabin and result in carbon monoxide poisoning. CO is a colorless, odorless gas that people die from every year. I strongly urge you to get your exhaust system checked and repaired.


Inspect the area behind the muffler for clearance, sometimes if the tail pipe is missing the exhaust will melt the bumper cover.

This is the exhaust system in your vehicle after the catalytic converter.

If any pipe is missing, you run the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.



Is this the best course of action? No. Use an actual muffler shop because it is most likely there are other pieces of your exhaust system that are on life support.

Accord enthusiast ? Is that even a thing.

Accord enthusiast ? Is that even a thing.

That was funny, but I would like to introduce you to this awesome guy:

Maybe it will make you think again. Car design in the 21st century sucks on the whole and can’t hold a candle to 60s Aston Martins; 80s Lambos & Porsches; Ferrari design also peaked in the 60s and 70s with the 308, Dino, and 250. The F40 a good one in the 80s too. All these modern sedans (with a few exceptions) look the same, and I think that’s sad, when car diversity was once celebrated and ideas were being explored. As far as a run of the mill sedan goes, I like the Accord’s lines. Nowadays they all have the same boring, try-hard ‘sleek’ lines in an attempt to make a Kia or Chevy or whatever look a bit more like an Aston. An example of this is the Chrysler 300, which is supposed to look like a Bentley, and it might a little bit, right until a Bentley rolls up.

You mean my 300C is not a Bentley? :astonished: I want my money back!


I’d suggest a reputable local owner-operated shop.

Most muffler specialty shops are chain operations, and their reputation has suffered from using inappropriate “generic” parts, offering a “lifetime warranty”, and then charging over again for the labor when they fail. They often also pay their techs a base + commission on how much work they sell, and they’ll find another 4-figures worth of work that doesn’t really need doing.

IIRC The EX trim level of that generation of accord had muffler with two exhaust outlets. The car doesn’t have a dual exhaust. Just the the muffler has two outlets. The lesser trim levels made due with a single outlet muffler. I want to say that single and dual outlet mufflers are interchangeable and the differences are mainly cosmetic . If one the outlet pipes is bent, you can probably just bend it back. even if it breaks off, it shouldn’t be a big deal as muffler is already mounted under the rear bumper and the outlet pipes are mainly there for aesthetics. A new muffler for this car is around $40-$50 online.

Those old Hondas could lose everything beyond the resonator and still be quieter than a Mustang. It’s when your A pipe cracks before the resonator that you’re going to have really loud noise.

That said, you still want to get it repaired as soon as you can.

It may effect your mileage slightly since you’ll have less back pressure in the exhaust, but nothing to get excited about. It’s not going to damage your car or make it overheat.

That 2 hours labor likely includes removal of the old muffler, which even though is not necessary in your case, will be required to remove whatever is left.

If there’s no change in engine performance and it doesn’t overheat I doubt running with an incomplete exhaust would damage anything on your car other than a direct heat blast effect, such Nevada mentions above. The main risks I’d guess are other parts of the now unclamped exhaust system falling off at speed, bumping around, and damaging the underside of your car, or damaging the car of somebody driving behind you; starting a fire; and poisoning yourself with exhaust gasses. Especially concerning in the latter regard is any backseat passengers.

Off chance, the exhaust airflow dynamics change might damage a cat or throw some type of O2 sensor related code.

might damage a cat

I wouldn’t want to do that.

To get your terminology right, the exhaust pipe is the one that comes off the exhaust manifold. Front drive cars have muddled the picture a little bit, but anything behind the muffler is a tail pipe.

I agree with Tester. The purpose of an exhaust system is not just to make it quieter but to prevent asphyxiation. Just take it to a muffler shop and get it fixed.

Get it fixed, and have the entire exhaust system inspected. Why would you risk CO poisoning on a 6 hour trip? One symptom is drowiness. Do yourself and everyone else in your car, or in your family, or on the road, and take the only responsible action; FIX IT.

If you can’t fix before your trip. rent a car.

I took it to the muffler shop today, as you all recommended that, and was quoted $170 for a new muffler and labor, and that’s for the twin-exhaust muffler or whatever, not sure of the terminology as judging by the confusing terminology in this thread, an exhaust pipe is not what I thought it was).

I mean honestly, what is this guy even saying

To get your terminology right, the exhaust pipe is the one that comes off the exhaust manifold. Front drive cars have muddled the picture a little bit, but anything behind the muffler is a tail pipe.

Other things worth noting for those who have a mechanical inclination: the muffler guy recommended I also replace a thingamibob at the same time as the muffler, which was apparently going bad, for $25. He also said, even without looking at the car, that there was no immediate concern or need to get the repair done, as the twin exhaust is purely aesthetic, and I still had one good one. Anyway, just wanted to say thanks for the advice everyone, I’ll be making my trip with peace of mind now.